The attempts of the European Union (EU) to externalize its immigration policy towards non-EU member states have significantly increased in momentum during the 20 00s in response to intensifying concerns about the changing context of the EU’s external security challenges and its strategic aim to guarantee stability and peace in its neighborhood through fostering development. Accordingly, four main developments have characterized the external dimension of the EU’s immigration policy. Firstly, the 2004 and 2007 eastern enlargements brought a new debate to the EU concerning the security of its expanded borders, especially against increasing flows of irregular migrants and asylum seekers. Secondly, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the subsequent attacks in Madrid and London, and the Paris attack in 2015 led to an increasing emphasis on linking migration issues with security and terrorism. Thirdly, owing to intensifying demographic challenges in the EU, migration started to be addressed within a Europe-wide debate about the transformation of European welfare states and the consequent need for new migrants within Europe’s labor markets. Lastly, following the Arab Spring and civil war in Syria, European states are confronted with the biggest refugee crisis on their doors since World War II. Thus, the EU’s perception of immigration has become somewhat paradoxical: on the one hand, the EU views increasing migration flows as a security challenge to be controlled through establishing effective cooperation mechanisms with third countries and influencing their migration policies in order to ensure the sustainability of the EU’s internal security; on the other hand, it also recognizes that migration can be a tool for development, in both the EU and non-member third countries. As a result of this tension that has developed around the twin discourses of ‘security’ and ‘development’, the gradual evolution of the external dimension of the EU’s immigration policy and its implications for third countries has emerged as a new and challenging field worthy of study, both theoretically and empirically.
KeywordsEuropean Union Immigration Policy Migration Policy External Dimension Transit Country
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